And a major debut.

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House #27
Date: February 14, 1999
Location: The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee
Attendance: 19,028
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

This is a bit different from the usual last stops before Wrestlemania as things are still up in the air. The world title match at Wrestlemania was likely to be Rock vs. Austin, but at this point there was still a shadow of a doubt that it could be something else. That’s one of the things that made this era so exciting for wrestling fans and it’s holding up pretty well upon repeat viewings. Let’s get to it.

The opening is set up like a movie from the early days of film, all in sepia with a perky song talking about driving someone crazy. The video itself covers Austin tormenting Vince into insanity and various other crazy people in the company around this time.

Goldust vs. Bluedust

This is another strange idea where comedy wrestler the Blue Meanie is trying to out-weird Goldust by imitating him while wearing all blue instead of gold. They’ve also been stealing Al Snow’s Head from each other to keep things moving. Goldust jumps him to start and nearly knocks him out of the blue bathrobe. An uppercut to the jaw drops Bluedust and the robe comes off.

Bluedust tries to walk out but gets thrown back in without getting too far. He kicks away at Goldust’s knee to take over and gyrates his overly large hips a bit. Goldust comes back by pulling up Bluedust’s shorts and spanking him into the corner for Shattered Dreams, only to charge into a boot to the jaw. Bluedust misses the moonsault and the Curtain Call is enough for the pin.

Rating: D-. This was a comedy match minus the comedy but at least it was short. The problem here was the joke didn’t quite work because there’s nothing particularly funny about the Blue Meanie being a blue version of Goldust. That’s one of the recurring problems in WWE history: comedy a lot of the time consists of “this exists, therefore it’s funny.” It doesn’t quite work that way though.

Post match Goldust hits Shattered Dreams.

Earlier tonight on Heat Austin was about to go after Vince but Commissioner Shawn Michaels made the save, allowing Vince to spit in Austin’s face.

Hardcore Title: Al Snow vs. Bob Holly

The title is vacant coming in due to the champion Road Dogg being injured. The brawl is on to start with Snow scoring with a quick chair shot. They head into the crowd with Snow in control until he gets slammed down onto some steps. Holly blasts him in the face with a fire extinguisher and breaks a glass jaw over Snow’s head, only to be sprayed down by the fire extinguisher as well.

They head backstage with both guys being thrown into doors until Snow pelts a trashcan at Holly. Bob comes back with a beer case and they fight outside where it’s 40 degrees at most. Holly is rammed head first into the side of a truck and they head over to the fire lane with Holly breaking a no parking sign over Al’s back. Snow seems to be laughing as Holly gets two. They head over to a wall and then a fence with Snow shouting at Holly for turning on him by leaving the J.O.B. Squad.

A stop sign to Snow’s back knocks him onto the banks of the Mississippi River but Al knocks him into a wheelbarrow. They fight over to some trees and closer to the water with Holly hitting him in the head with something made of metal. Snow comes back with some kicks and choking on the dirt before Holly is thrown into the water to fire up the fans in the arena. Holly comes back by sending Snow into a tree before Snow comes back with shots to the kidneys. They slug it out even more with Holly wrapping him up in some chain link fence for the pin and the title.

Rating: D+. This is one where you individual taste may vary widely either way. The match was definitely more of a spectacle than a contest which is fine, but if that’s not your thing then you were going to hate this. These two would have more and more of these insane fights which were very hit or miss. It wasn’t bad but it was only for certain tastes.

Earlier today Undertaker gathered his Ministry (Faarooq, Bradshaw, Viscera (Mabel) and Mideon (Phineas Godwinn) around a cauldron of fire to talk about how much evil they’re going to unleash.

Mideon vs. Big Bossman

This is Ministry vs. Corporation which has been going on for a good while now. Mideon has an eye in a jar and leaves it in Lawler and Cole’s care during the match. Bossman pounds away to start and knocks Mideon into the corner for some hard right hands. Mideon is sent to the floor but avoids a chair which hits the post instead.

Bossman’s hand is slammed into the steps but he comes back with a shot to the spine and a reverse chinlock in the ring. Mideon gets choked on the ropes and punched in the jaw as the fans rightly chant boring. A full nelson by Bossman is countered into a kind of slam for two. Bossman shrugs off some right hands but gets backdropped down to put both guys on the mat. They slug it out from their knees for a bit before the Bossman Slam ends Mideon clean.

Rating: D-. The only good thing here was how loud Bossman’s punches were. It was a bad contrast of styles here which isn’t something you want to see. It also doesn’t help that neither guy was any good at this point and no one cared to see the C list guys from either group punch and choke each other for six minutes.

Post match the Ministry hits the ring and destroys Bossman before taking him away.

D’Lo Brown and Mark Henry have found the solution to Debra in their new girl Ivory. If Debra tries to interfere, Ivory will rip Debra’s clothes off.

Tag Titles: Owen Hart/Jeff Jarrett vs. D’Lo Brown/Mark Henry

Jarrett and Owen won the titles from Bossman and Shamrock back in January. Henry reads a Valentine’s Day poem to Ivory and gives her a box of chocolates. Owen and Henry get us going with the power man throwing Hart into the corner and clotheslining him down before it’s off to Brown to speed things up. Hart comes back with a bulldog into a facebuster and makes the tag off to Jarrett who walks into a powerslam for two.

Everything breaks down and Debra gets on the apron to do nothing at all. Things settle down with Jarrett grabbing a DDT on Brown’s arm before it’s back to Owen for a double clothesline to put D’Lo down. A spinebuster from Owen sets up a middle rope fist from Jarrett. Hart hits the enziguri as the match slows down again. A double back elbow from the champions sets up a chinlock by Jeff before Owen kicks Brown’s head off to break up a comeback bid.

Brown finally scores with a quick Sky High to put Owen down, finally allowing for the tag off to Henry. Everything breaks down again and Brown catches Jarrett in a sitout spinebuster for a close two. D’Lo goes up for the Low Down but the girls get in a fight for a distraction. Henry gorilla presses Jarrett up but Owen hits him in the knee with a guitar. Jarrett puts on the Figure Four for a quick submission.

Rating: D+. This wasn’t horrible but the girls did nothing of note. I’m not quite sure how ripping Debra’s clothes off was supposed to keep Brown and Henry more focused on the match. Jarrett and Hart were extended placeholders as champions and while they were solid in the ring, they didn’t interest anyone for the most part.

Post match Ivory rips Debra’s jacket off.

Mankind says Rock is going to have to do more than cheap shot his knee like he did earlier today to take the title from him.

We recap Shamrock vs. Venis for the Intercontinental Title. Val started a fling with Shamrock’s sister and featured her in one of his movies. Ken’s sister Ryan said she loved Val, sending Ken even further over the top. Billy Gunn offered to be guest referee because the referees refused to work with Shamrock and Billy can’t stand either guy. Billy also recently exposed himself to Ryan just because he could. She didn’t seem to complain.

Intercontinental Title: Ken Shamrock vs. Val Venis

Ken is defending. Lawler almost loses his mind over seeing Ryan in a short, strapless white dress. For the sake of clarity, I’ll only refer to Ken as Shamrock here. Ken charges into the ring and the fight is on immediately. It’s Val in early control though with some right hands and a clothesline to the back of the head to put Shamrock down. Shamrock sends him into the corner to take over and whips him across the ring into the other corner.

Ken pounds on Val on the mat and gets glared at by Billy to give Venis a breather. Back in and Val gets a quick suplex for two before firing off knees to the chest. A butterfly suplex puts Shamrock down again and Val bends him over his knee to work on the back. They head outside again where Val works on the back again before taking it inside for a camel clutch. Ken comes back with some right hands but gets caught in a double chickenwing rollup for two.

We hit the chinlock on the champion for a bit before Val hits a knee to the ribs for a VERY delayed two count. Shamrock grabs a DDT for a slightly faster two but Billy just stops before counting three. Val charges into an elbow in the corner and a powerslam gets two but Val kicks out before Billy can stop. Venis grabs a fisherman’s suplex and Billy makes very sure to get a good angle before counting.

A Russian legsweep puts Ken down and it’s time to grind a bit. Shamrock hits a quick hurricanrana and a belly to belly to set up the ankle lock but Ryan pulls Val’s hands to the rope. Ryan slaps Ken in the face and Billy punches him for good measure. Back inside and Val grabs a quick small package for the fastest three count ever for the pin and the title.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t bad but it was much more about the angle than the match. That would be the case for the Intercontinental Title for months to come and the title would suffer as a result. It also didn’t help that the stories never got a proper payoff because of some screwy changes in booking right before Wrestlemania.

Post match Billy comes back in and beats up Val post match.

We recap DX vs. the Corporation tag match. Chyna had turned her back on HHH and cost HHH a world title shot recently and HHH wanted revenge. Kane and X-Pac are involved as well to avoid men on women violence.

HHH/X-Pac vs. Kane/Chyna

HHH is all fired up for this one. He takes off the DX shirt to reveal a Chyna shirt which he rips to pieces. Shane McMahon comes out to do some commentary. HHH pounds away on Kane to start but is quickly clotheslined down. HHH comes back with a shot to the face and brings in X-Pac for some right hands, only to have Kane easily toss him into the corner to take over.

Chyna comes in with a forearm but misses a charge as this is the first man on woman match in WWF history. Chyna avoids the Bronco Buster and things slow down a bit until it’s back to Kane. HHH comes back in with a top rope fist to the face but goes after Chyna instead, allowing Kane to come back with the top rope clothesline for no cover. Chyna gets the tag and escapes a quick suplex attempt to slam HHH down in a nice power display.

Back to X-Pac to crank on the arm and avoid a charge in the corner, setting up a double suplex by DX. Chyna tries to come in off the top but gets launched off the top rope at Kane to keep DX in control. Kane is clotheslined to the floor as everything breaks down. X-Pac dives at Shane before heading back inside to get slammed down by Kane for no cover. Chyna comes back in with a running powerslam before Kane gets the tag and pounds away as well.

HHH is watching a bit too intently, allowing Chyna to blast him in the face before clotheslining X-Pac down for two. Chyna hooks a sleeper hold on X-Pac but gets taken down by a belly to back suplex. A hot tag brings in HHH and everything breaks down again. HHH hits the knee to Chyna’s face but Kane pulls him to the floor to prevent a Pedigree attempt. Chyna gets caught in the corner for the Bronco Buster but Shane sneaks in to jump X-Pac. X-Pac chases him to the back and HHH sends Kane into the steps. HHH loads up the Pedigree but Kane comes in with a chokeslam to give Chyna the easy pin.

Rating: D+. The match was all built around the story but the question is which story. That was the problem with this whole thing: it was such a mess with all the twists and turns that people stopped caring. Eventually at Wrestlemania, Chyna would turn face again to rejoin HHH but then literally less than an hour later they would both turn heel to join the Corporation. Think that’s enough twists and turns?

We recap Rock vs. Mankind, which started at Survivor Series with Mankind getting screwed, then continued at Rock Bottom where Mankind got screwed. Then after he won the title on Raw, Mankind was screwed at the Royal Rumble. Mankind has finally gotten the title with the help of some heavy machinery, so tonight is yet another chapter in their war. It has specifically been stated that there MUST be a winner tonight.

WWF World Title: The Rock vs. Mankind

Last man standing meaning there are no pins but the first person to not answer a ten count loses. Also remember Mankind has a bad knee coming in. Mankind turns his back on the Rock to intentionally allow him a cheap shot to start but Rock goes after the bad knee in a smart move. Mankind lets him do it again and Rock blasts him in the back of the head but this time Mankind blasts Rock in the face with the title belt for an eight count.

They fight up to the entrance with Mankind being whipped into a piece of the set. Mankind finds a table near the production arena and DDTs Rock through it for a nine count. Now we head over to some tarped off bleachers for nothing of note before Rock suplexes Mankind onto the exposed concrete. Back to ringside with Rock being whipped into the stairs for a five count before heading back inside. Mankind slams him down and loads up his own version of the People’s Elbow but only hits mat.

Back to the floor again for another suplex on the floor, allowing Rock to go over to the announce table to offer Mankind a Rock Burger with some Rock Sauce on the side. The champion dives across the table to take Rock out before laying him on the announce table and dropping him to the floor with an elbow from the apron. Mankind rips at Rock’s face before throwing both Rock and the steps back inside.

Rock kicks them back into Mankind’s face before bringing in a chair to fire away at Mankind’s knee. Rock misses a big chair shot by hitting the ropes, knocking it back into his face instead. The Cactus Clothesline puts both guys on the floor again and Mankind drags him back to the announce table. He loads up a piledriver through the table but Rock backdrops him off the table and into the timekeeper’s table to hurt the leg even worse. Just to further the injury, Rock goes inside and throws the steps over the top rope to land on Mankind again.

Somehow Mankind gets up again so Rock takes him back inside for the People’s Elbow. Rock grabs the microphone to talk more trash and sing a little Smackdown Hotel. Mankind apparently doesn’t like Elvis tributes and puts on the Mandible Claw but the referee is taken out. Mankind gets him back to the ring and helps start the count but Rock gets up at nine with a low blow.

Rock hits a DDT but Mankind is up at seven for a double arm DDT onto the chair for nine. The Mandible Claw is broken up by a knee to the ribs and the Rock Bottom puts both guys down. Both guys slowly get up and hit each other with chairs, knocking them both out for ten and a draw. Remember that line about there must be a winner? Neither do I.

Rating: B-. Definitely the best match of the night so far but it’s still not all that great. Mankind had definitely earned the right to leave a pay per view as champion so this was a nice treat for him. The ending doesn’t work though as such an emphasis had been put on the match needing a winner.

The fans are MAD as both guys are being taken out on a stretcher.

We recap Austin vs. Rock. If you don’t know the story by this point, you’re not going to get it now. Basically Vince has spent about ten months tormenting Austin due to Austin rebelling against authority and has now cost him the WWF Title twice. Vince won the Royal Rumble but Austin was awarded the title shot, so he’s putting it on the line tonight to get his hands on Vince inside a steel cage.

The cage is assembled as the announcers talk about the main event.

Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin

This had to headline a pay per view at some point. Austin gets in the cage first so Vince makes him wait a bit longer. Steve gets tired of waiting and chases Vince around the cage but the boss gets inside to hide. The bell hasn’t rung yet. Austin tries to climb up the cage but Vince punches from his high ground. Steve slips off the side of the cage and seems to have twisted his knee. Like an idiot, Vince comes out to check on it and gets clotheslined by a healthy Austin.

McMahon is sent into the side of the cage and choked with a cord. They fight into the crowd with Austin in complete control. Austin hits him in the head with the bell, making it ring the hard way. The match still hasn’t actually started yet. Back to ringside with Vince being sent into the steps and running into the crowd to try to get away. The beating continues until Austin knocks Vince back to ringside. Vince tries to climb into the cage where there’s less to cause him pain.

Austin won’t let that happen though and rams Vince face first into the cage over and over. Vince tries to climb again but this time Austin follows him up and slams Vince’s head into the top of the cage, sending him flying off the cage and onto the Spanish announce table. McMahon’s head bounces off a monitor, knocking him out cold for a bit in a scary landing. Everything stops as Vince is taken away by medics and Austin chills in the cage.

The Fink is about to announce Austin as the winner but Austin isn’t cool with that. He guaranteed to take Vince apart tonight, and since the bell never rang that’s not good enough for him. Austin asks the doctor if Vince is still breathing, because if he is the fight isn’t done yet. Vince is pulled off the stretcher and hit in the back with a backboard before finally being thrown into the cage for the opening bell.

Austin hits a quick clothesline and a middle rope elbow before going to leave, but Vince makes the eternal mistake of flipping Austin off. Steve climbs back inside and stomps a mudhole in the corner. Somehow Vince fights out with a low blow to get himself a breather before climbing up the cage. Austin pulls Vince down off the cage and leaves him in a heap. The boss is busted open and Lawler is losing his mind.

Steve can’t help but smile and climb the cage but Vince looks up at him and flips him off AGAIN, bringing Austin back to the ring. Austin stomps on him even more, leaving Vince crumpled down in the corner. There’s the Stunner but as Austin talks trash, a monster called Paul Wight breaks through the ring and throws Austin into the cage before helping Vince to his feet. Wight throws Austin against the cage but the wall breaks, allowing Austin to drop down for the win.

Rating: C. This is a hard one to grade because it was again a story rather than a match. The ending was very smart though as Wight got to debut but also look strong with Austin winning due to Wight’s strength. Austin got to give Vince the beating he needed to and win a the same time, but Vince gets to continue the feud with his new monster. In case you didn’t recognize the name, Wight would soon be called The Big Show Paul Wight.

Vince is furious to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. This is a horribly bad show and a good example of what happens when the stories take the place of the wrestling. Everything moves so fast paced that it’s almost impossible to care about anything. On top of that, nothing really changed here other than Wight debuting and the Intercontinental Title. Mankind is still champion and Austin still has his title shot, but things would change soon enough.

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